a modal/duality modality

chaleur perdue Statement of Intention

What is this?

I don’t have too much formal background in any of art history, criticism, or practice. When I visit museums that contain primarily (for example) ancient, Renaissance, Impressionist, even some abstract expressionist art, I have a sense of what the artist is trying to do. But for many color field and contemporary pieces, I often don’t even know where to begin with interpretation, other than “this looks cool.”

My current strategy is to look at color field and other heavily abstracted pieces as artistic experiments in pinpointing the effects of various visual features on human perception; for example, an artist might depict the same scene in both one-point perspective as well as a skewed perspective and observe the different ways viewers react to each piece’s different realizations of depth.

In many cases, these artists are also heavily interested in science, mathematics and art criticism, and they publish books about what their art is attempting to explore or demonstrate. I do agree with the generally accepted tenet that authorial intentionality is not the basis or the ultimate “correct interpretation” for an artwork, but I find it incredibly helpful when artists explicitly mention their goals for their work. Sometimes I even disagree with their conclusions, but I probably wouldn’t have even thought about those ideas if they did not describe them to begin with.

The contemporary art gallery, non-academia equivalent of writing critical theory seems to be displaying a binder full of interviews with the artist. I think this is a good first step, but the interviews usually talk about very general, overarching goals and don’t mention specific features in specific pieces.

This document is intended to outline, with specificity, the major goals I had for my recent work, chaleur perdue/Lost Warmth.

This is not a “work within a work” (like the Commentary in Pale Fire). Everything I say here, including this sentence, should be taken literally and not as a metaphor, rhetorically, or sarcastically. Because I am really tired right now, this is also going to be somewhat stream-of-consciousness without much editing, and so, poorly organized.

I will not attempt to explain everything that’s included (probably not even a tenth of the creative process), just my basic intentions (and non-intentions).

Themes and concepts

At its core, chaleur perdue is a work about trying to understand human distance, which in this work, involves physical distance, linguistic distance, emotional distance, cultural difference, and temporal distance (among others).

This attempt ends up resulting in failure, so chaleur perdue instead shows the process of the attempt, i.e., the various ways I’ve thought about writing, drawing, or even thinking about distance, and why those attempts have failed.

This idea of artistic ineptitude is not so original, but non-artists usually have a hard time understanding this idea. In chaleur perdue, the games force the viewer to try and make art themselves. Since many of the games are rigged to be impossible to win (or where winning is not even a well-defined concept), the viewer gets an idea of what it means to be unable to express themselves. The goal is to induce frustration, confusion, and possibly, anger, primarily by subverting expectation.



The First Elegy

The Second Elegy

The Fourth Elegy

The Fifth Elegy

The Sixth Elegy

The Seventh Elegy

The Eighth Elegy

The Ninth Elegy

The Tenth Elegy



I hope this has been useful as a starting point. There is a lot more that went into chaleur perdue that I have not mentioned, so if you are interested in the concepts I talked about, try a careful replay!

Thanks for playing.